Monday, June 30, 2008

We are Back Home!

We are still on our feet after being up at 3:00 A.M. and in transit all day. The luggage is "unpacked" but not put away....and then there's all that washing to do tomorrow!! Thanks for those of you who kept up with our travel. The blog sure was an easy quick way to keep in touch! Pictures will be forthcoming. I'm thinking I will put most of them on Flickr and send you an url. One thing I did want to mention about our Holland friends. We were talking about our homes and Ivan kept talking about his village so I asked him how many lived in his village. Are you ready for this? He said 85,000. I said "85,000!!!" That's NOT a village!! Of course, Holland is a small country and has 16,000,000 people so apparently in Holland 85,000 is a village. They were just a little astounded at our "village" of 3,500!!! Perspective, right? :-)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Back Where We Started

We are now back at the first hotel. We leave the hotel tomorrow at 4:00 A.M. for a 7:00 A.M. flight *yawn* So, what has happened since my last post? A Lot! LOL The coolest thing was at our first stop we met a couple from Holland on another tour. They had their door open and lights on which is an open invitation to bugs. We waned them about this and struck up a conversation. Then at Chachagua we saw them again and visited a couple of times. Saw them again at one of our ¨Pit Stops¨ or as our tour director says our "Do your best" stops. We have exchanged information and will keep in touch. Cool, huh? OK, after my last post we started out for the beach on the West side of the island. Hotel was a new one right ON the beach. We ate breakfast watching the waves come in about 200-300 feet away!! We got there that afternoon and did some walking on the beach and got some shells. Next morning, we saw a macaw and of course, got a cool picture. Thank goodness for zoom lens and picture cropping software! We headed off to the Manual Antonio park and after an hour´s walk ended up at one of the few white sand beaches and got in the water there too. Got a good look at a sloth and the white-faced capusian (sp) monkeys really put on a show for us. Almost close enough to touch! On the way out of the park we stopped to look at something and someone yelled ¨snake" and sure enough there was one (non-poisonous so they said) about 2 feet from us. We were warned to stay on the trail because there were poisonous snakes around. Next day, Saturday, we went to a Pacific Rainforest Conversation project where we walked around with a guide for a bit and then rode the ariel train on top of the canopy. We have now seen the Rain Forest from beneath and above. Words cannot express the beauty of seeing the rain forest from the bird´s point of view! Then right at the end we saw a Toucan!! Is this a great trip or what??? Oh, yes, and it rained in the rain forest. The neat thing about rain here is that it rains straight down and usually is fairly light. Although here in the hotel we have just had a terrific rain storm but it IS the rainy season!! Today we got up early to see the macaws which of course did not show up *sigh* We took off for the Crocodile tour. Saw a lot of birds and crodociles. There is one big crocodile that got in a fight and had his jaw broken. He is "tame" and comes with the boat comes - I think they feed him sometimes. When he got close to the bank, the guide got out of the boat and slapped a towel on the ground to draw the croc to land and the croc would grab for the towel! Then the guide walked to the tail and picked up the tail!! Oh, I almost forgot, the coolest thing. Ever hear of the lizard called the Jesus Christ lizard? It can walk on water and we got to see several of them do just that. TOO COOL!!! Tonight we have our farewell dinner. Most of you will appreciate this. On a couple of dinners we have to choose between a couple of entrees. Twice now, everyone has chosen fish except Ben who chooses chicken so all the restaurant has to know is who Ben is!! LOL It has been a magnificent trip. Seems like we just started and seems like we have been going for weeks! I have to admit I am ready to come home! Hope you have enjoyed our little trip-o-rama. I´ll see you all soon and will post pictures.....sometime. You know you have to rest up after you go on vacation!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tarzan and Jane Live!!

We had breakfast at 6:00 and met for the Canopy (zip line) at 7:00. Got our equipment, walked a pretty steep climb and got our instructions and we were off!! What Fun!! Ten zip lines. By the second one I had it pretty well down. Finally realized I didn´t need to be sitting straight up but leaning back using my body when I used my ¨brake¨ which was a heavily gloved hand! Whoo!!! Most of us wanted to do it again!! I remembered when I retired and told Rhoda that it had been quite a ride and she said the ride was not over!! She was right!! LOL Then it was directly to the horses. We got our helmet and horse, mounted up and rode off.....not into the sunset but into the rain. Yes, it rained. The sissies wore rain gear but Ben and I didn´t. We were going to a spa to get wet so what was the purpose and as it turned out everybody came back to the hotel in their swimsuits. The trail was beautiful, through the forest, over rocks, over streams. My horse was just great!! At the spa we changed, went to a steam room for 10 minutes, slathered on mud, let the mud dry, washed it off and went to a naturally heated spa pool IN THE FOREST!! Can it get ANY better??? We were all famished at lunch and bushed so it was definitely siesta time!! Now we are picking out our pictures and off for a walk. We leave for the coast tomorrow - we´ll be on the beach. Only three days left. If I don´t get online at the next stop I´ll try to post in San Jose hotel before we fly home!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

And We´re BACK!!!

No, not back home - back online (and with a Costa Rican keyboard - which proves challenging) OK, so I skipped Internet at one RUSTIC lodge and the 5-STAR hotel didn´t have Internet that worked *sigh* so that explains why I haven´t posted before. So obvioiusly this will be a LONG post - so settle back for a nice read!! And I don´t know how to do a paragraph so it will all run together. I left you at the beginning of our Rain Forest walk which was wonderful and, guess what? It rained - oh wait, it RAINED and we got VERY wet even with our rain gear - but it was wonderful!! The walk was 3 hours and we had to RUSH to get our luggage ready for the next activity where we STOOD for a hour after walking for 3 - poor legs and feet! Then off to the next hotel. So far we have gone from 5-star hotel in San Jose to "quaint" thatch roof to RUSTIC - 2 kilometers on a rough gravel road. Name Chachagua!! Here we saw yet more fantastically beautiful plants and flowers! God was really showing off for us. So glad he did not make the world black and white! Oh yes, our bathroom had top-half glass walls and a sky-light. We showered with the light off! :-) just to be safe and to protect others passing by! LOL Beautiful place. This is what you want - authentic Costa Rica!! We visited a school on Sunday where the children danced for us and showed us their school. We had bought school supplies with us for them. Then we split in two groups and went to homes for lunch. Our group had 3 daughters there who spoke pretty good English but the mother very little. Delicious food and good interaction. This is Overseas Adventure´s big plus - interaction with locals. On our not so spectacular waterfall walk, we ended up where we saw Coatimundi´s!!! Also had Costa Rican coffee -hot water poured through a "sock" filled with coffee and had bananas right off the tree. Also had an Apple Banana! We found banana flowers and took hilarious pictures! Wait until you see them!! That night it rained hard. Every day it rains in Costa Rica and you just live with it. But the next day it continued to rain. Our next hotel was a 5-Star Spa hotel near the Arenal Volcano. Unfortunately the clouds and rain kept us from having great views. At times you could not even tell there was a HUGE volcano there - it just disappeared. The rain kept us from being able to do our 15 hanging bridge walk but our guide took us to a spot that night where we got glimpses inbetween clouds of the hot lava going down the mountain and you could tell the eruptions by the pink glow in the clouds. The next day we took a boat ride down the Rio Frio where we saw lots of wildlife - birds, caymans (alligator family) and lots of Howler monkeys. Our guide could imitate the alpha male howl so they ¨"conversed" and it was great. Ben got lots of pictures. Monkeys really put on a show swinging from branches. It was Great1!! Then we were fortunate enough to find a White-faced caspucian monkey. He or she was eating and gave us a great photo opportunity for several minutes. Fantastic trip!! The river flowed through Nicaragua and on the way back to the hotel there was a checkpoint for illegals. Costa Rica has the SAME problem with illegals as USA. CR doesn´t want to do the manual field labor so 80% of the workers are from Nicaragua and most of illegal. Some things are the same world over!! Today we had a 4-5 hour drive to the next hotel with a couple of stops along the way. The Chacagua was "off the beaten path" Today we are not even ON the path. 2500 feet above sea level. About an hour on a very rough, very steep drive (hope the bus has great brakes for the return trip!) we arrived at Buena Vista where I could get online and let you all know we are still alive and well and having the time of our lives. This trip is rivaling China. Ben has already taken over 1,000 pictures but as he says - surely, he has pictures of all the Costa Rican plant and flower varieties by now! Now, I have the internet for a hour so tomorrow afternoon I will make another post. We will view a hopefully spectacular sunset this evening. Tomorrow morning we do the canopy (zip line) ride at 7:00 (so if it rains in the morning, we have another shot in the afternoon) and at 9:00 we have horeseback riding, mud and thermal water spa treatments! So I should be able to report on those tomorrow afternoon. As I said, this is a wonderful country. People are great. Food has been delicious. Indeed the trip of a lifetime!!! Oh! Forgot to mention that at the last hotel we had both a front AND back porch. Front faced the volcano and the back faced the beautiful valley. Have purchased more coffee (so cheap here) and other souvenirs :-) We have been on the East side of Costa Rica - today we crossed the Continental Divide and are on the West side. It has been very warm and VERY, VERY humid. You take a shower and 5 minutes later want to take another one. OK, I think that´s it for now. Until tomorrow..... (I am not editing so hope this all made sense)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

What a Ride!!!

WHEE!!! I´ve found a new love - white water rafting!!! Of course, nothing about Stage 3 ! :-) What a rush!!! And of course, they took pictures of us and they are great!!! The weather could not have been more perfect. Blue skies, warm temperature, cool water that occasionally got us a ¨little wet¨ LOL So far the height of the day. Took a nature walk before breakfast and can now prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that my thumb is ´¨black¨and I can kill plants.....but you´ll have to wait for pictures to tell the whole story!! This morning we go on a 2 hour walk - and will cross the longest suspension bridge in Costa Rica (800 feet) and you know how I LOVE heights!! We visited a pineapple farm, owned coincidentally by the guy who owns Collin Street Bakery so the Texas flag flies in Costa Rica and we have a picture!! Extremely interesting and now I can tell you how to pick out a good pineapple by NONE of the means we usually use! We tasted pineapple straight out of the field. WOW!! We got to sleep in until 6:30 this morning and had a great night´s sleep so we´re raring to go today. Again Breakfast is calling my name so I must go.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Yes, I actually HELD one. Don´t you wish you could see the picture? Day one was easy after we got started at 5:15 (yawn) - bed at 11:00 so we will be ready for an early night. The hitch is that we are sharing our thatch-roofed hut with some teenagers. Thank goodness for earplugs. We started with driving through San Jose with informational stops at the National Theater and the National Museum. Then on to a wonderful lunch at a coffee plantation followed by a tour. Very interesting. Of course I bought coffee and dark chocolate-covered coffee beans which I hope survive the tropical heat! Then we headed to a couple of fabulous waterfalls. At one stop which was actually a lady´s house she opens to the public to view the waterfall and lots of hummingbirds. She also had a tarantula which our guide took out for us to see and hold. So of course, I held it and made SURE Ben got a picture of it!! Saw a howler monkey in a tree but in the picture he just looks like a furball. Trying to put names to faces in our group. So far everyone is getting along great. Our hotel for two nights is fabulous - in the rainforest - VERY humid. Tomorrow is the white water rafting. I can´t wait!! Tune in tomorrow!! By the way I´m not checking email so just post a response if you need to tell us anything.

We´re here!

Made it just fine. Not much sleep. Early start this morning. Beautiful hotel. Beautiful weather. Not much else to say. Must go eat breakfast!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Full Moon

The full moon made such a pretty back drop to the birds that we just had to post two more pictures. By the time we return the babies will be flying. I hope they will be around for a few days after we return. I will miss them when they are gone.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Watch This Space

We leave for Costa Rica this week and if the places we stay have Internet Access, I will keep you posted on our trip. Pictures however, will have to wait until we return.

More Pictures

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A First For Me

We went shopping today at Walmart. On the receipt it gave a website for a survey for a chance at $1,000. So I did the survey. Who knows, I might win. I certainly won't win if I don't do the survey! So anyway, near the end of the survey, it asked my current employment status and I got to check RETIRED for the very first time!!! :-)

Baby Longhorns

I'm really getting the hang of this blogging thing! :-) This time I was able to grab the camera and take the pictures of the baby longhorns myself (Ben wasn't even home!) Aren't they cute? I just had to share. Now realize they aren't "our" longhorns. We have a guy who leases our land for his cattle.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


This little creature was crawling down the foundation of our HOUSE!! It may be the same one I almost stepped on in a recent walk. Gotta love country livin'!

Purple Martins

I am completely enamored by Purple Martins. We got our houses from my Dad. For several years we didn’t have any birds. Then the scouts found the houses and we have birds every year now. I love watching them! They are extremely graceful birds. Seemingly they like to be near humans but last year we had one that didn’t and would dive bomb us anytime we were outside!
Our recent high winds seem to be somewhat of a challenge to them. They love sailing with the winds but landing on a tiny perch can be a challenge. We have about 30 birds this year.